While the results in Group A have all been predictable and one sided, Group B has played host to nailbiters and surprise results, thus upsetting all calculations as to who will reach the knockout stages. Ireland put themselves in the mix for a quarterfinal spot with a victory over England making the two team battle for the fourth qualification spot between West Indies and Bangladesh a three way affair.
West Indies and Bangladesh come into the match at Mirpur with a victory and a loss apiece. While West Indians were humbled by South Africa in their opening encounter, Bangladesh found the Indian top order’s score too big to chase. The Bangladeshi batting struggled against Ireland but their bowlers held their nerve when most required as they pulled of a close victory. On the other hand, West Indies notched up an emphatic victory over the Netherlands as the Dutch batsmen found Kemar Roach’s pace too hot to handle.
Bangladesh will have to improve on their batting performance from the previous game if they nurture any hopes of beating the team from the Caribbean. Tamim Iqbal looked in good touch in both the games before throwing his wicket away after a good start and his battle with Roach promises to be a cracker. While Imrul Kayes and Junaid Siddique will look to get some runs under their belt, Bangladesh bank heavily on Mushfiqur Rahim and inspirational skipper Shakib Al Hasan to anchor the innings in the middle overs. Ashraful’s uncanny leg breaks was what triggered the dramatic Irish collapse and he is likely to retain his place despite his failure with the bat. Mahmudullah’s role as an allrounder cannot be undermined and he may find his way back into the team in place of Raqibul Hasan or Naeem Islam. Shafiul Islam will lead the bowling attack along with Rubel Hossain but Bangladesh’s strength lie in their slow bowling attack and Shakib Al Hasan may continue his strategy of opening the bowling with Abdur Razzak to counter Chris Gayle.
Chris Gayle and Devon Smith exchanged roles against the Netherlands as it was Smith who went after the bowling while Gayle was unusually subdued in his approach. Darren Bravo, whose batting is reminiscent of Brian Lara, should do more than getting 30 odd runs if he has to justify the huge tag of filling the legendary batsmen’s boots. The Windies have a fairly well settled middle order with Sarwan and Chanderpaul and the power of Pollard and Sammy during the slog overs. With the pitch in Mirpur expected to be slow and low, Nikita Miller may retain his place ahead of Ravi Rampaul and it may eventually come down to Roach’s battle with Tamim Iqbal that will decide the outcome of this all important match – one that Irish team will be watching with great interest.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mushfiqur Rahim (Wicketkeeper), Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain.
West Indies: Devon Smith, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (Captain), Devon Thomas (Wicketkeeper), Suleiman Benn, Nikita Miller, Kemar Roach.
Live Telecast: Star Cricket (14:30 Local Time, 8:30 GMT)